The inquiry into the biggest rogue trading scandal in financial history broadened on Friday as police investigating the alleged fraud at Société Générale brought a second trader in for questioning.
The trader, Moussa Bakir, is an employee of Newedge, a broking firm partly owned by SocGen. Police on Thursday raided the firm’s Champs Elysées offices and confiscated Mr Bakir’s computer and hard drive.
Also Friday Jérôme Kerviel, the man accused of building up unauthorised positions on three European markets totalling €50bn, was taken into custody when a judge ruled he should be held in prison while the investigation continues.
The police raid was prompted by SocGen’s internal investigators, who are trying to determine how Mr Kerviel’s trading could have escaped notice for more than two years. It is understood that on Wednesday they discovered communication between the two men and alerted police.
Colleagues said it was well known that Mr Bakir, who is believed to have specialised in trading on the Euro Stoxx, Dax and FTSE indices, had traded for Mr Kerviel. People who know Mr Bakir described him as courteous and friendly. “He was just a normal guy and very pleasant,” one said.
People close to the investigation said it was unclear how long the two men had been in contact.
Mr Bakir’s lawyer said: “I am perfectly relaxed about the situation.”
The news is a heavy blow to SocGen as it seeks to put together a €5.5bn rescue capital increase to repair the damage done by unauthorised dealings that cost it €4.9bn. The bank was one of the heaviest fallers on the CAC40 on Friday, its shares falling 3.5 per cent to €77.72.
People close to the bank insisted the capital increase would be unaffected, and that further details would filter out.
Questions will almost certainly be asked about whether controls had failed in a second SocGen business.
Meanwhile, staff in areas of the bank hit by the subprime crisis and rogue trading scandal heard Friday that their bonuses had been cut dramatically. Staff in other areas were unaffected.
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